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Here are a few tips for hosting guests in a small apartment.

The holiday season is rapidly approaching, which means that many of our tiny apartments are about to be infiltrated by friends and family. It’s great to have visitors around the holidays, but it’s less than ideal to have to cram additional bodies into your person-sized space. Here are some tips for hosting guests in a small apartment.

Help Your Guests Sleep Comfortably

If you host guests often, consider investing in a sofa bed. Yes, they have some drawbacks: Fold-out couches tend to be more expensive, and they come in standard designs and sizes. It can be hard to find a sectional sofa that also is a fold-out couch, for example.

That said, Ikea has plenty of more affordable options. Some have built-in shelves to store bedding, and let you select between different mattress types. Ikea even offers sectional sofa beds. See, you don’t have to give up everything you want to accommodate your in-laws!

Before purchasing, make sure you test out the bed just as you would a regular mattress. This’ll shield you from your mother-in-law complaining about a crick in her neck all weekend.

If you only have guests occasionally, an air mattress is a more flexible option. Prices typically start at about $120 for a standard queen mattress on Amazon and run up to $300 at fancier retailers like Frontgate. The more expensive models can be elevated on legs to really make them feel like a normal bed.

Image of air mattress

Frontgate makes air mattresses look pretty classy. Source: Frontgate.

There are two potential hangups to consider with an air mattress: inflation and storage. To inflate the mattress, make everyone’s life easier and invest in automatic pump. These cost between $20 and $30 on Amazon and will keep that mattress fully inflated. Having extra batteries (or a charger) around for that pump is key, too — you don’t want to come home from a long day in the city and find that your guests are basically sleeping on the floor.

Most air mattresses can be tucked under your own bed or be shoved up onto a high shelf in a closet. When deflated, air mattresses are typically the size of a small duffle bag, though some are notably larger and heavier. Of course, be sure your air mattress easily fits into your apartment when it’s inflated, too. If you live in a small place — and who doesn’t? — there’s a good chance the air mattress will take up quite a bit of floor space.

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Source: Hayneedle

Create Space and Privacy for Your Guests

It will be hard to give your guests actual privacy, since they’ll essentially be staying on an inflatable raft in the middle of your living room. But there are little things you can do to help.

Purchase a discrete folding screen so that they don’t have to change in your bathroom. To prevent your guests from having to get down on their knees every time they want to change their socks, invest in a luggage rack. It may seem like something out of a 1950s motel room, but we promise, they’ll appreciate it.

If you can, clear a space for their things in the coat closet and medicine cabinet. Few things will sour you on your guests sooner than tripping over their piles of shoes or knocking over their bottles of prescriptions.

Image of pile of linens

Have Linens, Towels and Other Items for Your Guests

In case it isn’t obvious, make sure you have clean sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels for your guests. You may not use them regularly, but they will be appreciated. It’s also a super-classy move to have beds made up (if possible) and towels laid out in advance. It gives the impression that you were expecting your guests. Maybe even looking forward to this.

If your common area is the victim of light and sound pollution, have a new eye mask and earplugs available for your guests. If sound is really an issue, you may even want to purchase a white noise machine or encourage your guests to download a white noise app.

And who says all the new home purchases have to be for your guests? If you don’t have one already, considering buying yourself a bathrobe. If you only have one bathroom, a robe will help create some semblance of modesty when you have to make a run to the WC in the middle of the night or after you get out of the shower. Considering getting one for your significant other, too. And yes, they can be matching.

Give Your Guests Easy Access to Your Apartment

To eliminate the hassle of schedule coordination, consider making a spare set of keys to your place. But be proactive on this one. Some apartment buildings have special keys that cannot be replicated by typical locksmiths. If this is the case for you, be sure to request a new set from your landlord as soon as you know your guests are coming.

If you live in a very small building, let your neighbors know you’re having guests as a courtesy. If you are in a doorman building, let the desk know you’re having guests to prevent any confusion.

Best Practices for Sightseeing in NYC With Your Guests

Showing out-of-towners around New York can be super-fun … and completely soul-crushing. You’re a hurried, jaded New Yorker; they’re wide-eyed and curious. Along with preparing your apartment for guests, you’ll also want to avoid unnecessary hangups when experiencing the city. Here are some tips on that.

  • Explain that you will not pick them up at the airport. There is no reason to make both guest and host go through the time-suck and expense of getting to the city from a NYC airport. But of course, patiently and thoroughly explain how your guests should get from the airport to your place, if they need help.
  • Consider having breakfast at home before heading out for the day. Do you want to risk a nuclear meltdown when your father-in-law learns he has to wait 45 minutes for a $20 bagel and lox at Russ and Daughters? Save some money, save some heartache, and eat (and have caffeine!) before you leave.
  • Limit your day to two major sights and/or events. New Yorkers have high endurance levels, but your aunt and uncle from Boca? Not so much. And you won’t move as fast as you think with guests. So keep things simple — and fun — and don’t overdo it when planning your days. Two big things per day is a good rule of thumb.
  • Recalibrate your pedometer. What you define as a short walk (“It’s just 15 minutes!”) is probably not what your guests will.
  • Consider wrangling the MetroCard machines for guests. Tap the screen and get the card for them. What you can do in 15 seconds will take most newcomers a few minutes of head-scratching and frustration. (But note that you don’t have to pay for the card.)
  • Know when to take an Uber or taxi instead of the subway. Sometimes it’s worth a $20 car ride to stave off exhaustion and/or grouchiness.
  • Have supplies to serve a round of good drinks before going out. A well-made cocktail at home will ensure everyone leaves for the evening in good, er, spirits. And in general, find out what your guests like to drink, including sodas, waters, tea, coffee, etc.

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